tv BBC World News America PBS April 25, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT
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>> this is "bbc world news america." . eds the gre escape. hundreds of taliban fighters and commanders break out of an afghan prison after an elaborate operation to dig a tunnel. a terrifying escalation in syria. thousands of troops in a deadly assault in the city where the government uprising began. and tv crews outside westminster alley for the building at 8's hometown church. -- kate's hometown church. they are gearing up for the royal wedding.
welcome to "bbc world news," broadcast to our viewers on pbs in america, also around the globe. i am working with their partners here at the bbc tonight. a disaster. that is out a spokesman for the afghan president called it, a brazen jailbreak in which taliban commanders and fighters is gate at kandahar -- escaped at kandahar present. it sounds like a plot from the movies. for afghan authorities, it is all too real. >> it is the second-biggest prison in afghanistan. these cells held hundreds of taliban fighters. before the break out, the break in. the insurgents came up through the floor. the taliban has given a detailed
description of the escape. when the tunnel was broken through, they move from cell to cell and guided demand -- and guided the men through the tunnel. the prison guards were oblivious. the prisoners left belongings behind. many escaped barefoot. it took each man half an hour to crawl to freedom. the taliban went to the house. it took them five months to dig the tunnel. >> we had proper digging equipment and it was so much earth from the tunnel that we carried it away and gradually so that in the market. we have skilled professionals helping us, trained engineers who advises on the digging. we managed to get the spot where the prisoners were being kept. >> afghan officials admit this is a big setback for security in the area.
>> we are looking into finding out exactly what happened and what is being done to compensate for the disaster that happens in kandahar and beyond that. >> and it would not be the first time this prison has been breached. in 2008, more than 1000 men escaped. it is here where the jailbreak will be felt most, and the villages around kandahar. these soldiers and along summer fighting the taliban. now they are free again. the enemy has just had its ranks replenished. easiness, kabul. -- bbc news, kabul. >> for more, i spoke to a columnist for the washington post and that began by asking if this was more than a propaganda victory for the taliban.
>> there is an operational kaine obviously in getting the taliban fighters and commanders back -- operational gina obviously in getting the taliban fighters and commanders back, at you debrief them. i think the psychological momentum is at the heart of the impact of this. it was a complex operation. it was done in the middle of the night over nearly five hours. this comes at a time when general petraeus and other u.s. commanders had been talking about having reversed the momentum said the taliban rocks back on their heels, unable organize. they were able to organize what was a pretty sophisticated operation. >> i remember being in afghanistan during the last major jailbreak. a lot of dollars invested, a lot of effort invested to improve the afghan capability of
handling detainees, as well as fighting battles in the field. is this and the indictment of that investment? >> it will make people question the way in which the kandahar offensive was put together. the decision united states made was to focus the kinetic operations, military operations on the the built around kandahar, especially the west of the city. it was the decision to leave kandahar, the power brokers, relatively untouched, not to rolling in big offensive forces. we see any midst of kandahar, the heart of the u.s.-led offensive, the taliban are able to build this tunnel secretly, over five months of effort. i think there will be a whole series of questions. how did this happen? who was brought that's what is the implication that -- who was
bride? what is the implication? does this hurt the drawdown date? >> i do not think so. it made at that general petraeus's recommendations. he is going to come up with a series of recommendations, and it will have to reflect the more robust operations from the taliban and we thought. >> thank you. in syria, the crackdown against dissent took a deadly turn. at the the government troops launched a major operation with the anti-government protests began last month. the syrian government said the troops were invited in to hunt for the extremist terrorist groups. international groups are condemning be the violence. >> the syrian government made it
clear it will tolerate no dissent. extraordinary scenes as tanks rumbled down the streets, trying to seize the city back from protestors. the army moved onion in force, firing at demonstrators. these images, which we cannot verify, were recorded on mobile funds. some brave enough to confront the tanks made it clear what they think of the syrian army. >> week received information that the army had circled -- we received intimation that the army had circled the city. all we have seen since then is the footage said a number of tv stations are playing. >> syria is trying to ruthlessly crushed resistance. 5000 troops at been sent overnight. there are reports of bodies lying in the streets, and more people killed, taking the death toll to 350 cents protests
began and syria last month. -- since syria saw protests began last month. now there is a chorus of condemnation for the violence. president al-assad was once seen as a potentially moderate force, but the past few days have swept those thoughts away. another result of sanctions on his family in the ruling elites. the government claims of violence has been directed by a foreign conspiracy. activists say there had been no protests on the outskirts of the capitol, damascus. -- there have been new protests. there is no indication that the syrian government for the protesters are prepared to give ground.
the omens and is key middle eastern country are not good. bbc news. >> for more on the will social media is playing, i am joined by the state department correspondent his return from lebanon, covering, trying to get into syria. one of the problems is that journalists are not allowed in. and that is why social media has such an important role. the eyes on the ground. >> exactly. i was speaking to activists, one ethnic it's an 11 month -- one based in lebanon. we are getting eyewitnesses' we can talk to in trying to make sure that the protesters keep the momentum going. they are helping spread the word around the country, said the protesters know they are not alone, that they are also
demonstrating and nina was happening in the kurdish region, for example -- and in know what is happening in the kurdish region, for example >> and is a grass roots level organization. they are not deciding when and where to have the administration. what is happening is a grassroots movement. a little bit like egypt. it is happening through networks, universities, mosques, etc. they have formed committees to coordinate the movement. it is very much in on the ground, real people revolution. >> very quickly, the u.s. considering sanctions. will this make a difference that's correct it is difficult to tell. -- will this make a difference? >> it is difficult to tell. the u.s. already has sanctions
on syria. >> thank you, talking about the crisis and syria. in more news from the region, italy's air force is to take part in nato bombing raids. prime minister silvio berlusconi said that the italian jets would be involved in targeted military action. earlier, the libyan regime claims that three people died in an attack on colonel gaddafi felt compound. gaddafi himself as reported unharmed. yemen has agreed to a full tooposal for president saleh step down. but protests began -- the protests continue, calling for the president to step down immediately. authorities are said to of used teargas and live ammunition. wikileaks has released serious intelligence assessments of all suspects to pass through custody
in guantanamo bay. 25 were classified as dangerous terrorists, but 150 were believed to be innocent. many were detained for no apparent reason and eventually released. this just coming in in the last few moments -- a controversial a united nations report just issued concluded that tens of thousands --of guns at the end of the sri lankan civil war could be classed as war crimes. they've been trying to suppress this discovery. what do we see in this report? >> this report covers the final months of the civil war between warsri lankan government and the tamil tigers. civilians were trapped. both sides committed actions that could be classified war crimes. this included widespread
shelling of civilians and denial of human terry -- humanitarian aid. and terms of the rebels, they used human shields and shot civilians tried to flee and recommended an international investigation into whether these allegations constitute war crimes. the u.n. failed to take certain actions that could have helped civilians more. >> what was the sri lankan government said desperate to keep this report secret that's what i do not think any government would be -- desperate to keep this report secret? >> and nothing to any government would be happy with -- i do not think any government would be happy with our report that alleged he committed war crimes. they said that this was part of a just war against terrorists
fighting against the state. it is there not opposing this initiative, in picking up and said it believed the report was based on information that was untrue. human rights groups, however, has said it is very important these things be investigated because tens of thousands did die and the government used extravagant force. we will see what comes out of the u.n. after this report. >> sobering revelations for sure. thank you. now, to a disturbing case of modern-day slavery which has seen thousands of young men from burma traffic into thailand's fishing industry. some are enslaved at sea for years without ever coming ashore. others are imprisoned beyond -- between voyages. from the few to escape -- terrifying accounts of torture and murder. >> the police have been tipped off.
somewhere on the steady, a group -- on this jetty, a group of men in prison for weeks. "save our souls," a bit of english the captors did not understand. they came to thailand looking for work. instead, they were sold into slavery. a gap in the floorboards is the toilet. held captive on land, beaten, abused, forced to work around the clock. >> i was promised a job tending dirt, but i was sold to a fishing boat and not been freed since. >> many of those working on commercial earned -- trawlers
are enslaved. you can tell by the shock they wear on their faces. some are young. most live in fear of their captains. the stories are written. >> he escaped from a fishing but after months. ease up four people murdered. their bodies were tossed overboard. >> one night, three men tried to escape, but it was ross and two drowned. -- rough and two drowned. the other was beaten. the captain said, this is what happens if you try to escape. the man was tortured in front of us with electric shocks and shot dead. >> it also happens in need many fish processing plants on land where illegal burmese workers
pack fish around the clock in appalling conditions the message which is sold in our supermarkets. -- appalling conditions, seiche which is sold and in our supermarkets. -- fish which is sold on in our supermarkets. they earned little. the luckiest living in cramped blocks the it close to the factories. he was only 18 when he arrived in thailand. he was kept inside the fish processing plant, unable to leave, for four years. >> it was like living in a prison. >> declined -- he climbed a high wall to escape. laws to protect them are not enforced. corruption is rife. bbc news, bangkok.
>> shopping is. you are watching "bbc world news america." still to come -- making plans to go to mars. the space mission is off and running without ever leaving the red surface of spain. let the can down again, -- with the countdown began. four days to go before the royal wedding. spectators are sticking up their spots and media from around the world are preparing for what could be the most-watched broadcast of all time. prince william and kate middleton will wed this friday at westminster abbey. crews are fighting for a good view. it looks like a gorgeous day. can you describe the mood, the crowds outside westminster abbey was already four days to go? >> i can tell you without a doubt the the, the buildup has begun, especially for the world
leader. this is a global event. let me show you why. inside, 1900 guests. outside, the in roughly 8000 radio and television reporters will be watching their every move. in standing and show no the temporary five-tier structure -- i am standing and showing you the temporary five-tier structure built for the journalists. it is expected 5 billion people will watch the royal wedding across the world. >> you're talking about broadcasting two private lives. there's a lot of attention in the buildup to the big day, william and kate, private people. interesting contrast. >> they have been in noticeably
low-profile royal couple. william, is said, intensely guarded his private life after the death of his murder -- of his mother, princess diana. he was intense. for example, when they got engaged, they were engaged at least a month before it was announced so she could be prepared for exactly what was going to hit her, and believe me, that is going to be a lot on april 29. billions of people are going to be watching them. >> i confess, i will be one of those billions of people watching on friday. thank you. as the preparations in london continue full speed ahead, there's a flurry of activity in the bride's home village of bucklebury. the residents have been cast
into the international spotlight and our correspondent went to meet them. >> the bunting is up in honor of the bucklebury girl who made it to buckingham palace. >> it is good news for bucklebury and good news for the nation. >> it is getting closer and closer. classics the village -- >> the village butcher is one of those invited up to the abbey. he has known the bride century was a little girl. >> in i still see her. maybe not so often, but she always puts her hand up when she is passing, or in the area. very smart. >> there will be a big party here with a giant wedding cake. >> we are using 160 eggs, building a huge show cake on the day as well. >> bucklebury paris church is 50
miles from westminster abbey, but they are still determined to be heard here on wedding day. >> she is telling them she is going, she is gone. >> date composed a special and 4-hour peal, and some ringers had even cancelled holidays to make sure they are here on the day. >> i knew her as a child and i feel honored to be invited to bring. >> bucklebury is a quiet place. some regret the attention and are looking forward to saturday as much as they are to the wedding itself. but they also know this community has a unique place in british royal history. bbc news, bucklebury. >> right down to be ringing church bells. one person who will not be in westminster abbey this friday will be president obama. instead, he will be in florida
to watch the final launch of space shuttle endeavor, and so, to congresswoman gonzalo rojas. she was gravely injured -- congresswoman gabrielle giffords. she was gravely injured in january. a team of european scientists is already beginning at admission to mars. we have that story. >> this might look like mars, but this spaceman is much closer to home. in fact, he is in rio tinto, spain. it is the perfect place to test out technology that might make it to the red planet, like the space suits. this high-tech computer has
been specially developed to detect any astronauts inside. >> mars is the most earth-like plant in the universe that we know of right now. it is still very hot. it has very strong radiation and in the environment. >> also on a test run -- a robot to help astronauts to explore the treacherous martian terrain. space agencies around the world said they want to get humans to mars, but there are no definite mission is planned. however, the scientists say we need to lay the groundwork now. >> there are still quite a few new technologies that will be needed. we need better ways of getting people there with more powerful proposal -- propulsion systems to shorten the duration of the mission. i think within our lifetime we have a good chance of seeing something like that happen.
>> for some, the chance to set foot stilts on mars would be -- footsteps on mars to be wonderful. would you go? >> would be a one-way ticket and never come back? the other way is you would come back safely, and i would prefer safe. then i would say yes, i would love to go to mars, of course. >> there are still many obstacles to overcome before giant -- before humans finally make it to mars. this technology could be at the forefront of exploring the next great frontier. bbc news, we attend so -- rio tinto, spain. >> you can get constant updates on our website. thank you for watching.
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